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How to Polish Your Valve Covers

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by leggers, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. leggers

    leggers XS650 Addict

    Thought I'd share my video on polishing valve covers.

    keep in mind that you can always start at a lower or higher grit depending on the level of scratches that are already on the surface of the metal. Likewise don't be afraid to try out different buffing compounds on the wheel.


  2. thelowlife

    thelowlife XS650 Addict

    Good simple how to video! :thumbsup:

    I like to wet sand the whole way through. I find it makes my paper last a lot longer. Just some water and simple dish soap dip the paper in, cleans all the debris out of the grit.
  3. jamesgs4

    jamesgs4 fuck this, let's ride!

    plus, no dust. cool video though.
  4. TeeCat

    TeeCat One-Mik Wonder

    Thanks for this! I'm going to have to polish my covers one of these days.

  5. I am Carbon

    I am Carbon shade tree mechanic XS650.com Supporter

  6. leggers

    leggers XS650 Addict

    This is a good suggestion, and I have gone through this process wet, but I like the way the dry paper bites the metal. But yes, keeps the dust down a lot!:D thanks!
  7. gggGary

    gggGary On the road of life I'm a speed bump. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I like to start with paint stripper and then black (coarse) buffing compound on the coarse buffing wheel, switch to white on the soft wheel done, no paper needed. A set of 4 takes about 1/2 hour. I have a Harbor Fright 3/4 buffer and it's the bomb for some buffing. I want to go up to a bigger buffer but am waiting for a "deal". Various grades of coumpound work but you need to keep wheels and compounds separate. Great video! I prefer a full face shield when using the buffing wheel, the compound filled cotton fluff the wheel sheds are not good for eyes OR lungs.
  8. leggers

    leggers XS650 Addict


    Thanks Gary. Good points here too, I have a plexi shield on my bench wheel, but if I was using a dotco wheel I would definitely suggest some sort of eye protection. I'll have to try getting the black compound, I'm sure that saves a lot of time.
  9. Ghetto

    Ghetto Bob it!

    I threw mine in a tumbler with some tumbling rocks. Didn't come out too shabby.
  10. DrofBBQ

    DrofBBQ XS650 Enthusiast

    I just bought a Caswell 3/4 HP buffer. It should be here tomorrow. But I use my hand buffer ( Dewalt 9'' ) all the time on restaurant equipment so I know how dirty an area can get around buffing. I'd like to put something on the wall behind my buffer that I can clean. Otherwise I'll end up with a ton of buffing compound on the dry wall in my garage. I thought about a clear shower curtain then I could just take it down and throw it away every once in awhile. But I wondered if anyone has a better idea?
  11. gggGary

    gggGary On the road of life I'm a speed bump. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Yeah the buffing area gets really dirty fast.
  12. DrofBBQ

    DrofBBQ XS650 Enthusiast

    So how do I set this up so it's a really easy clean up. And of course I don't mean every day but say every few months or so? There has to be a way? Especially with as many bright minds as then forum has on it.
  13. cycleranger

    cycleranger Generally Ok.

    I like the shower curtain idea. I was lazy and just built a cardboard "enclosure" with some duct tape at the end of the bench that catches most of the residue.
    The rest just floats around the shop until it settles on.... everything..:rolleyes:

    Oh, and wet sanding is superior to dry, imho.
    And good wheels really help. The HF wheels aren't so good.
  14. DrofBBQ

    DrofBBQ XS650 Enthusiast

    Well I'll try the shower curtain thing for now. And my wheels are from Caswell so they should be ok. I'll build a fixture to hang the curtain from tomorrow and go buy a curtain. It'll look pretty geeky but as long as it does the job I guess. Maybe someone else will come up with a better idea. Thanks for your input cycleranger.
  15. cycleranger

    cycleranger Generally Ok.

    It helps to keep the shop vac handy and periodically clean up as you go.
    The Caswell wheels should work great.
    And wear a mask and eye protection! :)
  16. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi Jack,
    taping up a shower curtain (or builder's plastic) behind the buffer and changing it as required is just about perfect. I wish I'd thought of doing that instead of stapling 32 ga aluminum flashing behind mine and swabbing it clean with solvent now and then.
    But what gets to me is the airborne particulates that come off the buffing mop.
    I was perhaps two minutes into my very first polishing job before I stopped to add a breathing mask to my protective gear.
    If I was going to polish more stuff than a small cover plate every few months I'd get me a big old dust collection intake and extractor fan.

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